When I was growing up, there were a number of news stories about Six Flags building a park in my hometown. And the stories were constant over the course of twenty years, until they slowly faded away. I never got a theme park in what I basically considered in my backyard.
So, I was colored a cynic when I heard Topgolf, a fusion of a golf driving range with all the distraction of a night club, was announced to be coming to my new hometown of Fort Myers.
It was like I was slapped across the face with a tuna sized Déjà vu fish. All too familiar and slimy.
The announcement came from an interim spokeswoman for the city of Fort Myers. She mentioned that they are looking for locations on the Six Mile Cypress/Ben C. Pratt and Colonial Blvd intersection, right next to the highway where Topgolf loves to put their driving ranges.
Of course, if you ever shopped around there at The Forum shopping mall, or visited the Calusa Nature Center to see the owls, that intersection is already filled up with businesses. You can even use the Lee County Property Appraisal website to see all the land at the intersection that has been claimed with plans to build. I even went out to see where they could possibly put a giant driving range/club. The results are in the video above.
The announcement was becoming even more fishy.
I wrote to Topgolf for a comment on the mysterious location and they sent me this:
Thank you for your email. I can confirm that we are actively pursuing a location in Fort Myers. Once we have finalized our plans for a specific location and secured the necessary approvals, I will make sure to reach back out to you.
Feel free to check in too if you have any questions, otherwise I will provide you with updates as soon as I have them.”
There is a huge difference between “actively pursuing a location” and “coming to” the city of Fort Myers. I spoke with real estate broker, Gary Tasman of Cushman & Wakefield Commercial Property, about how the city can announce something that is not a done deal.
“[This announcement] is different than it usually is. Generally, announcements aren’t made until the company gives the authority to release that information. I’m not sure how the city can say that.”
Now, there could be rumblings going on behind the scenes we might not know about. And there is a possibility Topgolf is trying to buy up property from people who have yet know they want to sell.
My thinking is one of two things may have happened, the city of Fort Myers either jumped the gun in announcing Topgolf is coming, or they are using that information as a power play on someone so Topgolf can build on their location.
We’ll have to wait for what pops up in our backyard to see which one is true. Just remember, I’m still waiting for my rollercoaster.